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Corrupt a USB Drive Without Properly Ejecting – Not Likely, Here’s Why

If you yank out a USB drive from your computer, do you think it hurts the stick or could damage the drive?  No it doesn’t.  Well, it’s possible, but not probable.  The reason why is that Windows updated their removal policy for mass storage devices a long time ago.

eject USB drive

To mitigate the likelihood of data loss in surprise removal scenarios, Windows XP refined the caching policy for removable storage. As of Windows XP Beta 2, for consumer-oriented removable storage (USB, Flash, Zip, and so on), write caching is disabled by default. This means the write process happens immediately and when the Windows dialogue box shows complete…it’s really complete. In the past, Windows would buffer the data first, then write.  So if you pulled out the storage device there was a good chance Windows was still writing to the drive.  That’s when you get a corrupted drive.  So Window’s changed all that.
Disabling write caching means that, instead of saving up changes for a file on a removable storage device and then doing a bulk write, Windows XP writes changes to the file as the changes are made. This keeps data on removable storage devices more current, mitigating the likelihood of data loss. However, disabling write caching also has a performance impact.
If you would like to learn more about removable drive properties, Microsoft has an entire section about it.

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